You love your pet and always want to do what’s best for their health and comfort, right? Dental care is one of the most important things to focus on, though many pet owners don’t know this. If you want to learn why dental care is important for your pet’s health, keep reading. We’ll also cover how to make it as stress-free as possible (for you and your pet) and offer some general advice to help promote easy hygiene habits!
The importance of your pet’s dental hygiene
Pet owners “back in the day” definitely never worried about something like brushing their dog’s teeth. After all, dogs don’t need to have the same kind of care as humans do, right? The times have changed, though.
In reality, dental issues are as common in pets as they are in humans, and they can cause your pet a lot of issues that they can’t tell you they are having. Having broken teeth, periodontal disease, and so on is just as painful for your pets as it is for us. But they can’t go to the dentist for help because they have no way of telling us that they’re having issues.
Dental care is neglected in pets a lot, and it can lead to malnutrition since pets will have bad teeth and won’t be able to eat properly. It can lead to other medical issues due to infection in the mouth causing extensive health stress throughout the body. It also can lead to very expensive vet visits to have teeth removed and your pet’s mouth properly treated.
How to properly brush your pet’s teeth
The best care is preventative care, of course. So, how do you brush your pet’s teeth? There are a few techniques that you can use to make it as stress-free as possible!
- Buy pet dental products: This includes special pet toothbrushes (like the ones that go over your finger) and toothpaste! Human toothpaste contains xylitol which, even in small amounts, is toxic to pets. Your vet can help you pick out the right toothbrush and toothpaste if you need advice.
- Show your pet they are good things: Pets are naturally curious, so use that to your advantage. Help them see that these tooth care products are positive things that they can check out and interact with. Do this before you actually try to use them. Then get them used to the taste of the toothpaste.
- Show them the process of tooth brushing: The last step will be to gradually get them used to the toothbrush being in their mouths and moving around. It may take time for them to adjust! Move at your pet’s pace. You can help them see it as a positive thing. Use praise/treats/play to give positive reinforcement that tooth brushing is a good thing!
- Brush lightly and gently around your pet’s mouth: Once your pet is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, brush lightly around your pet’s mouth so that you get all of the teeth’s external surfaces. Make it quick, jus a, so even impatient pets should be okay.
Are there alternatives to manually brushing your pet’s teeth?
The modern world has invented some pretty exciting alternatives to classic toothbrushes for pet dental care. Some of the most common examples are:
- Dental chews
- Dental toys
- Dental kibble
- Dental wipes
These all help with dental care. However, you should still consider manually brushing your pet’s teeth. Even if you use these other options, classic toothbrushing is still important for the proper care of your pet’s dental health.
Learning how to brush your pet’s teeth doesn’t have to be a negative thing! Use a treat or other forms of positive reinforcement You can learn how to have fun with it and help your pet feel better, too, as an added bonus. Remember that proper dental hygiene helps improve your pet’s health, making this one of the best tasks you can add to your pet care routine.
General tips for your pet’s dental health
Whether you’re new to dental hygiene for your pet or you just want to have a few tips to help make it easier, here are some extra ideas to support easy care for your pet’s long-term dental hygiene.
- Start early: Always do what you can to start early in your pet’s life. Whether it’s early in their chronological years or early in their years with you, adjust them to this dental hygiene habit as early as possible so that they know to expect it in their life with you.
- Be consistent: Do your best to always keep tooth brushing as regular as possible. Whether you do it once a day or twice a week, keep the times and schedule as consistent as possible. Try associating brushing the teeth with a daily occurrence like after a meal, and then give an extra treat to make it easier to become a habit. Your pet will learn to predict it and expect it so that it’s just another regular activity for them to do and enjoy with you.
- Offer a tasty reward: If your pet is treat-motivated, you’ll want to consider having a special, especially tasty treat that you give them after they have brushed their teeth. If you give it to them only after toothbrushing (and no other time), this can make even the most rebellious pets pretty cooperative. You can also use another kind of reward if your pet isn’t as treat-motivated. Perhaps a cuddle session or a walk or something else that they really enjoy.
- Keep it a positive experience for your pet: You’ll find it helpful to keep dental hygiene as positive an experience as possible. This makes your dog or cat see it just like any other part of your day, and it can even be a great bonding experience. Use positive reinforcement rather than punishment, and it’ll work in your favor much easier and faster than you might think!
Giving your pet the best quality of life includes making dental hygiene one of those essential pet care tasks. These instructions and tips can help make it easier and safer for you and your pet. One of the main things to remember is that it isn’t nearly as hard as you think it will be. Just ease into the habit gradually, use positive reinforcement, and make it part of your pet’s routine. This will help you support your pet’s healthy future one tooth at a time!